Main Content:

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Occupational Therapy hosted the Third Annual Pitt OT Colloquium as a virtual event in April 2020. This virtual event served as a collaborative venue for over 300 clinicians, students, faculty and friends from all over the world to gather and discuss the newest OT research, education and theory to create the best OT practice for the future.

Events included an awards reognition ceremony, keynote presentation and virtual poster session to feature the capstone projects from the inaugural cohort of Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) students. Please see below for more information about each of these events.

Awards Recognition Ceremony

The following awardees were recognized at the 2020 Pitt OT Colloquium:

Award of Appreciation
Sarah Papperman, MPH, CPH

For supporting Pitt OT students through education and service

Excellence in Clinical/Community Educator Award
Garrett Bowers, MOT, OTR/L

For demonstrating dedication to high quality education of occupational therapy students in Level I fieldwork

Excellence in Clinical/Community Educator Award
Michael Balandiat, OTR/L, CHT, MMT, CPAM

For exhibiting superior skills and abilities in practice, management and professionalism in Level II fieldwork

Keynote Presentation
Elizabeth R. Skidmore PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, FACRM

Occupation and Participation: Essential Elements of Health and Well-Being
​Often, occupation and participation are viewed as distal outcomes of health. However, a preponderance of evidence suggests that both occupation and participation are significant contributors to health. Dr. Skidmore will provide an overview of the science linking occupation, participation, health, and well-being. The presentation will end with a “call to action” and strategic directions for occupational therapy education, practice, and research to place our profession at the forefront of public health.The virtual poster session focuses on bringing the concept of the poster presentation beyond the four walls of a conference hall. This virtual poster session is the culmination of our Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) students’ doctoral capstone experience and relates theory to practice and demonstrates synthesis of advanced knowledge.

Click here to download presentation slides.

Poster Session

The virtual poster session served as a platform to showcase the culmination of our Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) students’ doctoral capstone experience and relates theory to practice and demonstrates synthesis of advanced knowledge. Attendees of the poster session had the opportunity to explore the range of topic areas presented by our OTD students and engage in active discussions.

After the Injury: A Resource for Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury 

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Laura Collins, Chris Fagan, Maggie Feltman, Mo Morrison and Kristin Zink

Faculty Mentor: Joanne Baird, PhD, OTR/L, CHSE, FAOTA

Concentration/Focus Area: Children & Youth/Home and Community Health

Abstract: Acquired brain injury (ABI) is the leading cause of death and disability in childhood. ABI impacts the trajectory of a child’s life by effecting functionality longitudinally. Families of children with ABI feel unsupported when returning back to the community and are overwhelmed trying to find help. This presentation will discuss the development of a comprehensive multimodal resource called the “After the Injury” program that aims to support children with ABI in their return to the community.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to... 

  1. Identify 3 strategies to collaborate with key stakeholders when objectively determining the needs of a specific client population.
  2. Identify procedures for developing evidence-based content for a program and evaluating the effectiveness and sustainability of this program.

For questions about this poster, contact Maggie Feltman at mlf63@pitt.edu.

Developing a Multi-Domain Intake Battery for Participation in a Wellness Program for Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment 

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Jennifer Knowles, Caitlyn McGrane, Janelle Moody, Leanne Tabit and Madeleine Wirth

Faculty Mentor: Juleen Rodakowski, OTD, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

Concentration/Focus Area: Home & Community Health/Health & Wellness

Abstract: The Brain Training and Exercise (BRiTE) Program, a wellness program, needed to revise their multi-domain intake battery to efficiently assess potential members in cognitive health, physical health, and social engagement. To achieve this, performance was analyzed on standardized assessment tools. A systematic process to analyze observations was developed for the assessor.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to...

  1. Identify strategies used to create an Observation Checklist for potential member eligibility in a mild cognitive impairment wellness program.
  2. Understand the importance of clinical reasoning for holistic assessment of potential members for a mild cognitive impairment wellness program.

For questions about this poster, contact Janelle Moody at janelle.moody@pitt.edu.

Positive Opportunities for Positive Engagement: A Non-Pharmacological Chronic Pain Management Program for People Living with HIV/AID 

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Max Carlson, Haley Feller, Claire McCarthy and Natalie Wise

Faculty Mentor: Alyson Stover, MOT, JD, OTR/L, BCP

Concentration/Focus Area: Home & Community Health/Chronic Conditions

Abstract: Chronic pain affects persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) at a higher rate than the general population. Current healthcare practitioners feel unprepared to address or intervene with chronic pain among this population. Occupational therapy has a distinct value in navigating clients’ needs by intervening in physical, cognitive, social, and environmental domains. This poster will describe an emerging practice area utilizing non-pharmacological management techniques to address chronic pain in PLWHA.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to...

  1. Describe the components and benefits of a non-pharmacological chronic pain management program.
  2. Discuss and disseminate knowledge of best-practice recommendations for intervening with patients with chronic conditions.

Handouts: Click here to access handouts provided by the peer network

For questions about this poster, contact Claire McCarthy at CEM126@pitt.edu.

The F.O.R.E.S.T. Program: Post-Transition Enrichment for Young Adults with Disabilities 

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Ann Keller, Tara Lookabaugh, Caeli Mulvaney, Alexandra Plaster and Therez Young

Faculty Mentor: Ann Marsico, CScD, MOT, OTR/L

Concentration/Focus Area: Home & Community Health/Developmental Disabilities

Abstract: Young adults with disabilities are at an increased risk for occupational deprivation post-high school due to a lack of services focused on increasing independence. This poster will describe the design of a post-transitional training program for young adults with disabilities, including a needs assessment, program outcomes and objectives, program curriculum, a staff training protocol, and a budget developed for a facility serving individuals with disabilities in the Greater Pittsburgh region.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to . . .

  1. Acknowledge the deficiencies in accessibility to post-high school independent living and recognize the necessity of additional transition supports.
  2. Understand the steps completed to provide a foundation for a program for individuals in relation to program objectives/outcomes, program curriculum, staff protocol and budget.

For questions about this poster, contact Caeli Mulvaney at ccm75@pitt.edu.

Community Engagement in Adult Training Facilities: Exploring Workplace Dynamics to Promote Client-Centered Practice

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Victoria Viola, Ashton Lawrence, Natalie Little, Katie Slater and Ashley Greivenkamp

Faculty Mentor: Denise Chisholm, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Concentration/Focus Area: Developmental Disabilities/Leadership

Abstract: Community integration is a primary area of need at Adult Training Facilities due to Community Participation Supports legislation. Occupational therapy can serve in a consultative role to increase community participation through occupation-based resources and educational support.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to...

  1. Identify strategies to facilitate successful client engagement in community settings.
  2. Identify appropriate educational materials based on health literacy and Readiness for Change Model.

For questions about this poster, contact Ashley Greivenkamp at arg127@pitt.edu.

Aging in PACE: Implementation of an Evidence-Based, Cognition-Focused Program to Increase Participation of Community-Dwelling Older Adults 

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Markia Ashe, Claire Dice, Courtney Longmuir, Marybeth Moscirella and Megan Szatkiewicz

Faculty Mentor: Pamela E. Toto, PhD, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA

Concentration/Focus Area: Productive Aging/Cognition

Abstract: PACE programs are designed to meet community-dwelling older adults’ needs. To address such needs, this poster will describe a partnership with a PACE organization to implement a site-specific, evidence-based, and cognition-focused program to engage participants in cognitively appropriate activities. This poster will describe feasibility and preliminary participant and staff outcomes. The results guide future implementation of similar programs and investigation into functional outcomes.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to...

  1. Identify facilitators and barriers for implementation of a cognition-focused model of practice.
  2. Understand the preliminary participant and staff benefits of a site-wide, cognition-focused model of practice.

For questions about this poster, contact Courtney Longmuir at csk22@pitt.edu.

Standardizing the Discussion Around Nutrition and Healthy Behaviors in a Pediatric Primary Care Clinic

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Meghan Esarove, Kim Holliday, Alyssa Kallenbaugh, Kristen Korner and Anna Shaw

Faculty Mentor: Angela Caldwell, PhD, OTR/L, CLT

Concentration/Focus Area: Children and Youth/Primary Care

Abstract: Pediatric primary care well-child visits vary from physician to physician when discussing nutrition and healthy behaviors. A standardized screen was implemented with toddlers aged 18-35 months and their caregivers to collect population specific data and identify greatest areas of need to guide development of recommendations. Three best practice, evidence-based recommendation were then presented to physicians in order to standardize healthy behavior discussions during well-child visits.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to...

  1. Promote consistent client-centered, nutrition-based discussions between all health providers and caregivers at a pediatric primary care clinic.
  2. Provide educational resources that promote caregiver understanding of recommendations to improve carryover into the home.

Handouts: Click here to access handouts provided by the peer network

For questions about this poster, contact Kim Holliday at kph18@pitt.edu.

Communities Moving Together: A Novel Physical Activity Promotion Program for Low-Income Families 

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Elise Krause, Anna Lucas, Mikayla Redding, Alyssa Synek and Morgan Wilson

Faculty Mentor: Jennifer White, CScD, MOT, OTR/L

Concentration/Focus Area: Home & Community Health/Health & Wellness

Abstract: Physical activity promotion programs fail to meet the unique needs of families in low-income communities. Conversely, this intervention considers the client's life circumstances to generate culturally relevant physical activity goals and incorporate them into their everyday routine. Occupational therapists have the skills and training to reduce health disparities amongst communities by employing client-centered methods that empower the family unit to sustain positive health behavior changes.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to...

  1. List potential benefits of using goal-setting and activity-scheduling strategies to shape positive health-behavior change of clients regardless of socioeconomic status, age, and health status.
  2. Describe and understand how occupational therapy plays a unique role in the development of community-based programs for individuals of all ages.

For questions about this poster, contact Mikayla Redding at mtr28@pitt.edu.

Educating Pediatric Residents on Occupational Therapy and Sensory Processing through a Multimodal Educational Approach 

Click here to view poster.

OTD Peer Network: Annamarie Benedek, Allison Herman, Portia Maravich, Ashley Martin and Natalie Yosef

Faculty Mentor: Roxanna Bendixen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Concentration/Focus Area: Academic Education/Advocacy

Abstract: A multimodal education program was implemented to educate pediatric residents on sensory processing and occupational therapy’s (OT) distinct value in order to provide pediatric residents with the knowledge and tools to better address sensory deficits in children, educate caregivers, and make appropriate referrals. The results of the multimodal education program demonstrate the value of advocating for OT as a profession and educating other professions on a variety of topics related to OT.

Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to...

  1. Understand the importance of educating pediatric medical residents on the role of occupational therapy in order to provide the knowledge and tools to make appropriate referrals.
  2. Understand the importance of educating pediatric medical residents on sensory processing in order to provide the knowledge and tools to better address sensory deficits in children, educate caregivers, and make appropriate referrals.

Handouts: Click here to access handouts provided by the peer network

For questions about this poster, contact Allison Herman at anh88@pitt.edu.

​For questions regarding this event, please contact the Department of Occupational Therapy at OTpitt@shrs.pitt.edu.

Keep an eye out for more information about the next Pitt OT Colloquium scheduled for spring 2021!